Monday, 27 September 2010 14:58
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday invited foreign businessmen from around the world to invest in the Philippines , declaring it open for business once again.
In a speech at the Citibank Economic Conference in New York City , President Aquino shared with foreign business stakeholders the realization of several measures in efforts to promote a conducive business atmosphere in the country.
“I was elected to office on the promise to fight corruption and do better for the poor. I recognize that in order to do that, the engines of commerce must be running at full throttle,” said the President.
“Let me be crystal clear, to achieve our social goals, it is imperative that we in the Philippines create a climate for private enterprise to profit and thrive. And this is what we have begun to undertake,” he added.
Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo and Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima presented the Aquino administration’s economic and fiscal agenda. They also outlined some of the reforms underway such as simplifying the process of establishing business, improving infrastructure and relaxing regulations on air travel to and from the country.
For his part, the Chief Executive illustrated such measures in two specific examples. One is putting in place the zero-budgeting scheme in the proposed P1.645 trillion national budget for next year. This required review of existing programs, termination of programs that no longer fulfill intended outcomes and a reduction in the funding of programs that needed to be redesigned.
Belt-tightening measures such as restrictions on congressional pork barrel and reduction of wasteful, and possibly corrupt spending practices, which allowed increase in government’s spending on education, healthcare and the much-needed emergency cash subsidies for the poorest of the poor while reducing budget deficit as a proportion of GDP.
The President also pointed out that the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s Run After Tax Evaders program aimed at plugging the leaks in revenue collection, have resulted in seven tax evasion cases in just two months.
The markets he said, seem to be endorsing the government’s actions. According to him the stock market has hit an all-time high on convincing value turnover. The recent Global Peso Bond offering, he added, raised $1 billion for the Philippines , with the issue being 13 times oversubscribed.
With these economic reforms, President Aquino called on the foreign private businessmen to explore the opportunities being opened for investment in the key areas of the economy.
“With these on hand, we invite the private sector to explore opportunities open for investments in key areas of the economy,” he said.
These investments will see dividends in the form of better educated, more productive workforce whose growing income opportunities will in turn spur consumption and grow the pool of skilled workers and the markets for products and services that the private business sector provides.
“I invite you to come see for yourselves what we’re doing to make sure that the Philippines is once again open for business,” the President said.
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